“The opportunity … to change the story”

Posted by Rob Walker on March 31, 2009
Posted Under: America,Believing,Consumer Behavior

I listened with great interest to a recent episode of Speaking of Faith, devoted to changing values in the economic downturn, and titled Repossessing Virtue. Instead of drawing conclusions about how nationwide values have changed, it offered thoughts about how individual values can change. I think there’s a lot to be said for considering the cultural moment on an individual level.

There were some great passages in the show, and since there’s a transcript, I can easily pass along this bit, which I found particularly good (with a little bolded by me). It’s from Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen:

The culture tells me in order to live, I need to have 43 lipsticks and 10 face creams and no wrinkles, right? But those things cost a lot of money. And because I can’t buy them now in a knee-jerk way, I find myself recognizing that I really don’t need them. I need something else.

And I think that the economy is a pointing finger to a spiritual emptiness that has been among us for a long time and that we have an opportunity to fill it now, and that’s very, very exciting stuff. You know, in just thinking about all of this money, money itself, physical money, densest form of human energy. That’s what money is, stored energy. Now energy follows belief. The economy is based, I believe, not on scientific laws as much, but on peoples’ beliefs.

What is a good life? The answer to that drives an economy or other such questions or thoughts or beliefs. I believe that I’m alone and therefore I have to have something to be with me, to take care of me. I’m not safe. My whole life is about getting safe, so I spend money or don’t spend money based on these kinds of beliefs.

So another way of saying that is we got into this place because of the story, the story we tell ourselves about ourselves, about other people, about the world, that the goal in life is comfort, which is, I think, one of the most dangerous stories in the whole world, by the way (laughter).

But the opportunity here is to change the story.

Buying In readers will no doubt see immediately why I like this so much.

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

This one post is “worth the price of entry.”

I CAN see why you like the points made here about the stories we tell ourselves.

Keep creating…a story worth repeating,

Written By Mike Wagner on April 1st, 2009 @ 2:03 pm

Much appreciated, thanks.

Written By Rob Walker on April 2nd, 2009 @ 9:29 am

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